McCormick & Co., the spice and seasoning maker, said it plans to change its product labels to specifically identify food that contains monosodium glutamate, or MSG.
McCormick sells MSG, a flavor enhancer, under the brand name Accent, and identifies the ingredient on the label. But MSG is not identified in other McCormick products, such as gravy mixes.
John H. Nelson, McCormick's vice president of science and technology, said the company will change its label to list MSG in its foods in light of new guidelines proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.
"It's perfectly in order as long as there are a small minority of people that have a reaction to MSG that they should be able to find it on the label," he said.
Symptoms of reaction to MSG can include headache nausea, vomiting and a worsening of existing asthma.
Although problems associated with MSG have been known for years, the issue re-emerged Sunday on CBS-TV's 60 Minutes, which reported the prevalence of MSG in many foods, which are not labeled as having the ingredient.
MSG occurs naturally in HVP, a flavoring ingredient, often wheat- or soy-based, added to a large number of processed foods, such as frozen dinners. Food labels now must list hydrolyzed vegetable protein, but not its MSG component. MSG must be listed only if it is added as a separate ingredient.
The FDA said that in the future it will require the MSG to be specifically listed on labels.
Nelson said McCormick probably will change its product labels in January.